Imagined Homeland: Exhibition in Hyderabad

Below is a description of an exhibition on Lisu people by Photo journalist, Shri Sharbendu De, who had been twice in Shidi area, as part of the project, Imagined Homeland. The exhibition will be in Hyderabad from 6 Sep to 7 Oct 2018, where hundreds of photo professionals will showcase their researches.

I hope this event will highlight the myriad problems we face and draw relief from the authorities.

More about the exhibitions:


Imagined Homeland

By Sharbendu De

Source: Indian Photo Festival, 23 August 2018 ·

In Lisu folklore, a flood swept away Lecha and Secha’s village in the mountainous forests. Sole survivors, the orphans travelled for years in search of others. But, with no survivors, the sibling duo ended up as man and wife. This lore is posite for the indigenous community living in the dense Namdapha forests on the Indo-Myanmar border of Arunachal Pradesh, India. They continue to live in isolation, searching still.

Roads, electricity, hospitals, even phone connectivity are distant dreams. They trek three to six days to reach the nearest town. Lisus live symbiotically with nature, revelling in its mysteries, yet endlessly wait for a better life. I imagine them dreaming of teleporting to another world, and explore poetic aesthetics to evoke the aura of their magical world, over communicating facts. Thus, I adopted a mix of documentary and constructed imagery emulating the mythical and realities of the modern.

‘Traditional approaches to storytelling are not as effective as before’ (Sekula, 1978). I therefore reference interconnections between man-animal-nature and borrow from romanticism and dream symbolism to weave a narrative. Symbolism and mythology are the natural languages of the unconscious’ (Jung, 1964). Believed to bear mythical qualities that connects the heaven and Earth, I use ducks as recurrent tropes to symbolise their desire for a world where myth and the modern can cohabit. Similarly, the forest, horses, television and it’s light as well as the dominant darkness are realities of their life, but also metaphors. I’ve consciously distanced from iconographic references as well as descriptive images with shock value to save the viewer from responding in definitive ways. Instead, the polysemic images, ambiguous and archetypal scratching our intimate memories of things we once believed in, might render the spectator into a participant.

Find more about the exhibitions at the IPF2018 @

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